Sunday, August 23, 2009

Don't forget health care

It's hard to believe but this was the long due and forgotten third bullet point back in 1992 during Clinton's campaign:

1. Change vs. more of the same. It looks like we got that one!
2. The economy, stupid. You've got to be really stupid not to notice this one by now ...
3. Don’t forget health care. This one doesn't seem so obvious. This is part of the right to live or how is it not part of the right to live?

I'd add a forth one: Don't forget education!! Coming from a country were the educational principles of education being free (all the way including universities), mandatory and religious-free, it looks like there's a lot to accomplish there too. Especially when the world is changing and education is big time stagnated.

It is time for Health care for all. Don't forget health care!

Twitter: "It's the search, stupid"

For all of you that are wondering, why do I need this Twitter thing? and what is the big deal about knowing what other people had for breakfast? or thinking, I'll never come back to this Twitter in a zillion years... think again!

Here's a little different perspective of why Twitter is indeed so relevant and it will just become more and more relevant overtime.

Did you think that Twitter was a life streaming service? Well ... it is! but what it is really becoming is a huge index for web content organized by time, social closeness and geographical data. So, what do you get in the end? A search engine, even when we don't see it like that for now. That's where it's going and that's what it will become for the majority of users that are not necessarily content generators but content consumers.

We have to remember that users will follow the 1:10:100 rule as far as content creation, a trend that might be changing with younger generations but is still very true as of today. This rule would basically tell us that every 100 "content consumer" users that will be out there just reading tweets, following others and searching there will be 10 that are "synthesizers" mostly doing re-tweets and hollow posts (no links to new web content or no relevant content on their own) and only 1 will be actually "creators" generating tweets that index relevant pages created on the web or have original text content of their own. Right now, twitter users are mostly in the synthesizers and creators groups (1:10) and the big consumers group (100) is usually not enticed enough to stay. Those consumers are the people that signed up, checked it out, thought useless/boring/time waste and forgot about it ... But, things will change.

Search will be refined, like it just was by adding location, and it'll become more evident and user friendly. Content will have more metadata attached, which in the end is search engine material, so search results can be more relevant. Content will continue to grow and expand. And, sooner or later, the consumers group, the 100 group, which is the mainstream group as well, will start finding utility in searching, discovering and using twitter information. The index will work for them, and they'll be the new twitter fans.

Here are the reasons why, twitter it's all about search:

1. Tweets are 140-char link indexes.
Tweets do link the web. Most everything that is being produced on the net right now such as blog posts, web site pages, other tweets, facebook updates (soon to come) are linked by tweets. Tweets are pointing to everything that is happening on the web as it happens. That's where the 140 characters limitation worked a miracle by generating new habits of synthesizing an idea and linking to the expanded content which creates the super web index that twitter is becoming.

2. Relevance by freshness, social closeness and geo-location.
The user in the present moment is or could be at the center of the search experience in twitter. I could search by freshness or time relevance and I assume with time they could be allowing me to actually search for tweets in the future or past in addition to the precious now. Also, I could search within the global twitterverse as well as I could be searching within my own network of who I decide to follow. Recently enabled was the search by physical location which brings into the picture incredible extra ways in which searchs can be profiled.

3. Social built-in.
Twitter started as a social network, a flexible one, much more open than others like Facebook, but the social component of being able to say these are the people I care for is there and that might be key in the future of how they cater search. This is a key component of the viral behavior twitter generates. Once data portability is implemented, as it most likely will be, you could post in twitter for only your group of friends or for all your followers and be much on control of how you share/stream your data.

Update: found this great article about this same subject back in Feb 09.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Twitter enables geo-location for tweets

Twitter announced couple days ago one of the smartest moves that they could have possibly done. They will be adding latitude and longitude to their tweets. The first step will be through their API so that all the applications in the twitterverse can post tweets with location. In the future they'll also allow it from their own channels.

Why is this so powerful?
This addition totally deepens the gap between traditional web search and real time geo search. There is an ongoing battle in the search world and Twitter is already beating the traditional search when it comes to real time events. If you wanted to know information about Michael Jackson, a political movement in Iran or an earthquake happening right now somewhere in the world you definitely would benefit much more from searching in twitter than doing so in Google or bing.
The geographical search will bring one more layer to our virtual world. Now, not only can you ask twitter what's happening right now around some tag words, but you could also limit the scope to some particular geographical area.

Our syncing between the real and digital world will have location connection in addition to time connection once this technology is widely adopted as it will.
I believe it actually will bring closer our digital and real worlds ...
It's like if our virtual worlds were hanging out there in a time mesh and in the short future the mesh will be attached by infinity of points to the face of Earth. Maybe I'm being to matrixy here, but that's what I think will happen ;)

As GPS enabled devices are becoming more mainstream this kind of search will become very important. This is the connection in real time and in situ. This is revolutionary! We'll open many other ways of doing things because of this new geo-layer and it makes total sense that Twitter will be at the heart of it all.

Other than navigation tools, GPS has been pretty secluded for niche applications seldom used massively. With twitter geo-location addition plus the ubiquity of mobile devices with integrated GPS we'll see an explosion of new uses for location based applications. I can see it being used for sharing during events such as concerts, congresses, conventions, exploring new friends/hangouts/dates, getting discounts/coupons/sales information as you are at stores or malls, emergency uses of all sorts, etc.

There's obviously a great business model behind this new Twitter feature, as once you have location targeted ads become a must. Foursquare actually already uses them in some capacity.

Note: This was one of the first times that I learned about this by twitter before than blogs ...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Two shooting stars

My last night's insomnia turned for the good when Google reminded me that the Perseids were peeking today around 4:00am. As a side note, I never saw the Google logo sooo nice. Too bad it was already 4:38 when I found out, plus the moon was out, Temecula was pretty bright and the sun raising orange light was starting to show up.

Still, I managed to see two pretty good shooting starts close to Orion constellation. (I didn't expect to see them there, not enough time to research though).

Orion, Hiades and Pleyades (my very favorite constellation) were aligned almost with the Moon, it was a nice night out there. Of course mosquitoes started to bother me too and it was time to say: Mission accomplished!

If you didn't catch this one, you still can give it a shot tonight and a few more nights ...

Note: stargazers, my fav website for star related matters, seems to be down, apparently they couldn't escalate after some online newspapers mentioned them.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Touchable Holography

Very cool, from University of Tokyo, Holographic image that you can feel:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Beware: Nintendo Dsi creates zombies!

As happy as I was when Santa got us the Nintendo Wii as much as I regret the moment I got the Nintendo DSi for my girls. They're just hooked. They never are ready to turn them off. They have to take them everywhere. You talk to them and they don't respond. It's crazy. They wake up and the first thing they think of is their DSi. They have been turned into zombies! I want my daughters back!!

Don't buy your kids DSis. Don't say you weren't warned ...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Earth's mood

As most of us are twitting (or equivalent) as one day we will, it'd be really cool to have a web page that shows Earth's mood through analyzing twitter's posts.

I can imagine an application that would be graphically live, constantly moving to reflect the happiness/sadness of twitter posts in general or for a particular tag. Like a screen saver kind of thing where we can see the top and bottom fronts of the screen advancing into the white neutral area as posts are classified as: happy/hopeful, neutral or sad/angry/fearful.

Marvin Minksy's speculates in his "The emotion machine" book that out of every millions of thoughts we make up one emotion that stands out as our conscious feeling of choice for the moment. So, in the same way, the net every millions of posts would come up with a feeling of choice and it would be wonderful to have an image reflect that instantaneously with its subtle variations every second as new posts pop in.

There are many attempts already of figuring out the mood of either one twitter account or one keyword:

. Twitter mood reader graphics the mood of a given twitter account based on words associated with good or bad mood, anything else would be neutral.
. Smiley Twitter tracks the happy and sad sentiments around a given keyword based on emoticons :( :)
. Twitter Sentiment seems to have more an statistical approach kind of trends. Their algorithm seems pretty intelligent and it accepts feedback from users which might indicate it has some capability to learn.
. There's even a "make your own twitter mood tracker with Ruby" guide (emoticon based).

Hypnotized by fire? Just imagine this: add some music and relax in front of a screen to watch Earth's mood ... that would be pretty cool!!